The Magic of Book Design

The Magic of Book Design - student project

*updated to fix typo :) *

My goal was to illustrate my day as a book designer. We start by sketching and gathering ideas, move to the computer, sweat over the deadline, take lots of feedback, work the magic, and bring books to life.

I fit this project into my daily routine by staying late after work here and there. It took me about a month total.

First, I sketched. First time in ages! Evidently I have trouble staying inside the lines...

The Magic of Book Design - image 1 - student project

The Magic of Book Design - image 2 - student project

The Magic of Book Design - image 3 - student project

Then I had fun with the ink! I did about 7 pages because I wanted options. Here's a sampling...

The Magic of Book Design - image 4 - student project

The Magic of Book Design - image 5 - student project

The Magic of Book Design - image 6 - student project

The Magic of Book Design - image 7 - student project

Then I finally realized how I wanted the books to be composed so I did a quick sketch and, instead of scanning it, just took a pic with my phone:

The Magic of Book Design - image 8 - student project

In Photoshop, I started with a blue swatch and got to tracing...

The Magic of Book Design - image 9 - student project

But I had a feeling that the blue wouldn't give enough contrast against the inky textures, so I switched to yellow-orange and finished the rest of my composition. This part took the longest, about a week...

The Magic of Book Design - image 10 - student project

And then I added the inky textures and declared it done...

The Magic of Book Design - image 11 - student project

This illustration makes me smile and I have a print on my desk now. Sometimes I think I made it too busy with the stars and dots, but it makes sense to me because book design magic comes from many, many sources and hopefully when the dust settles the design is dancing.

The happy letters with feet were inspired by a book I had as a kid. You made fingerprints and then made them into characters with faces and arms and legs. Haven't thought about that book in ages!

This was a fun project and I learned a lot about Photoshop. Thank you, Tom!